Last Saturday night, my friend knocked on my door at midnight, and asked me if I wanted burritos. We walked down to market together, got tortilla shells, and stood out by the duck pond to watch the moon until we got too hungry and went back to our dorm to microwave the chicken. We watched Netflix while eating our very late dinner, and I went to bed around two in the morning.
This is my way of saying that college is different for everyone. At the beginning of my fourth week as a college student, my impression of college is one of community. Everyone that I’ve met on campus either wants to be, or is a part of a community. On a trip to Walmart, I was invited to trivia night. Walking down the hall in the student center I was invited to join my school’s political movement group.
No matter who you are or who you want to be, there will be a community for you on campus, and they will welcome you with open arms. And the community you choose to be a part of will shape your college experience.
Classes are also a dominant part of the college experience. Sometimes classes feel like ways to pass the time between doing homework, but the classes you choose and the attitude you face them with will define your semester. The professors usually strive to make their classes relevant and interesting, so even if the area of study is not your specialty, there are plenty of opportunities to learn something that will be useful later in life. I don’t plan on ever becoming a geologist, but my historical geology class is teaching me so much about the uses and purposes of different minerals.
Spending a lot of time on campus is always a good way to pass the time, if you don’t have homework. Sitting out on the main mall on a sunny day will allow you to meet so many new people and experience new things. On my campus, there is a group of people who slack-line every day. Many people walk their dogs, which is always relaxing to watch. Bands will play, or clubs will set up booths, and there’s always a chance to meet new people.
There is a lot of freedom in college. Freedom to choose the person you want to be, freedom to choose your level of dedication to what you’re studying. Freedom to choose what you eat and when, who to hang out with, what to do with your free time.
It’s a little overwhelming at first. There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself, like what do you want out of the college experience? Once you understand the answer to that question, settling into your new home becomes easier.
What I want from my college experience is a group of good friends, to feel welcome in my home, and to graduate on time. The sense of community that I experience on campus is extraordinary, and has helped me accomplish my first two goals. Get involved in the community, even if it’s just to hang outside your dorm.